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MICHELLE PRIDDY'S KITCHEN STRATEGIES

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Went to visit Grandma Lydia and Grandpa Truman with Hubby. Our oldest was there, and Uncle Larry and Aunt Cece came to visit, too. Aunt Cece loves my mom’s meatloaf, so Grandma tries to make it when Cece’s there. Grandma Lydia makes the best meatloaf. Always has.

Grandma Lydia usually serves some type of potato dish with meat loaf, and since I was there, just as at Thanksgiving, I made the mashed potatoes (the kind with cream cheese added while mashing). But I added just a bit too much milk during the mixing, so the potatoes were not as stiff as usually they are.

We sat down to dinner, prayed for our food to be blessed, for good health for our family and friends, guidance for our nation, and began to eat.

Now my folks have been married for a few decades. As far back as I can remember, my mom has been letting my dad know when he has food on his chin. And as far back as I can remember, at the home dinner table, when she tells him about the speck of food on his face, he has to make at least one try before his tongue hits the mark, usually two or three. (In public he uses his napkin just like Grandma Lydia does—her manners are impeccable—but at home? In front of the kids? That’s another story.)

Some of my soupy mashed potatoes landed on Grandpa Truman’s chin. He ignored it; Grandma Lydia didn’t. Out came his tongue, like a lizard (just as I remember from back-when; he even had the same expression on his face), and he missed. Mesmerized, all eyes at the table focused on that speck of white mash potato on his chin as we waited for the lizard tongue to appear, like children waiting for the coocoo clock bird to appear. Sure enough, he tried again; he missed.

Grandma Lydia took a deep breath, rolling her eyes as she turned her head away so she wouldn’t have to watch the lizard tongue fail, and as soon as she turned the other direction and wasn’t watching, Grandpa Truman’s lizard tongue found the speck of mashed potato.

Grandma Lydia let out the deep breath turned back towards her mate to see a pleasingly clean chin. She smiled as she said in an exasperated tone, “Why do you have to make me roll my eyes?”

By then the rest of us at the table were shaking our heads and laughing.

         Grandma Lydia’s Meatloaf

4 parts ground beef                1/4 -1/2 cup veggies per lb meat diced before adding

1 part sausage (optional)        1-3 tsp Seasoning Salt or salt free seasonings per lb meat (optional)

1-2 parts oatmeal          1 egg per lb meat, beaten with fork before adding

                                     1/4 - 1/2 tsp pepper per lb meat

                                     1/4- 1/2 tsp salt per lb meat (optional)

Mix everything together (I usually mix the meat and the beaten eggs together until they are well blended, then add everything else), and put in a loaf pan, a casserole dish, a cake pan (I’ve even used a pie tin when that was all I had) in whatever shape is pleasing to the family. (Grandma Lydia’s meat loaf is shaped like a long loaf of bread, as is Hubby’s. He usually makes the meatloaf in our house because he does a better job of it than I do. Mine are like round loaves because I like to use my round casserole dish.) Bake for about an hour in a 375˚F oven until the juices run clear when pricked with a fork.

Note: I use two parts oatmeal when using sausage and one part when only using hamburger. Grandma Lydia told me, “I use oatmeal because I have it. Bread crumbs are good, and so are crackers. I used red and green bell peppers, but you can add carrots, zucchini, anything you’ve got for veggie add ins.”

(A Meatloaf Start Chart with the add in ideas I grew up with is in the Start Chart Recipe Tables Booklet available through The Goldendale Sentinel office, made on demand when you order.)